Of perhaps fifty titles that Manga have released to date, there are three or four which should be classified as all-time greats of film-making. Akira falls into this category and, for my money, Wings of Honneamise is even better.
It takes place on superbly-detailed alternative Earth, where one nation is on the verge of getting into space, but is under threat of attack from a neighbour. But this films avoids the cliched posturing and tedious heroics that some show generate, concentrating on one man, who through quirks of fate ends up becoming the first astronaut, and his relationship with a deeply religious girl whom he meets. As the launch approaches, the pressures on everyone build into a deeply-engrossing story, helped by an excellent soundtrack by Ryuichi Sakamoto. The ending, though slightly obtuse to the point where you may well wonder exactly what is going on, is one of the classic sequences of animation, the launch of the rocket rivalling the bike chase in Akira for power and grace. One of the very best, unfortunately, edited by Manga to get a 'PG' certificate, but on the other hand, they have seen fit to release it subtitled and letterboxed; guess we can't have everything!
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